Showing posts from August, 2010

Trailer Tuesday: Vampires Suck

I know I shouldn't really be encouraging anyone to watch cinematic trash, because the more money juvenile, junk movies make, the more frequently these films are greenlit at the expense of quality big screen entertainment. This said, I have to admit that the trailer for Twilight spoof Vampires Suck tickled my funny bone. So, even if you don't pay to watch the film at the cinema (and by the sounds of things, that's advisable!), it's worth downloading the trailer above for a guilty pleasure giggle or two. The same goes for the film's slightly different international trailer.

Brought to you by Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, the same writing-producing-and-directing team responsible for the fairly amusing Date Movie, as well as the rock-bottom Epic Movie,Meet the Spartans and Disaster Movie, Vampires Suck closely parodies the first two Twilight films - while occasionally ripping on other current pop culture obsessions. The film follows teenager Becca Crane (Jenn Prosk…

Mini-reviews for Monday

I haven't done one of these compilation review posts in a while - and considering I'm wrestling with a serious sleep deprivation headache after a physically and emotionally exhausting past week - short, sweet and to the point seems to be the way to go. So, in no particular order, here are a few mini-commentaries on recent movies I've watched.

For the record, while I've been largely dissatisfied lately with new cinema releases, I seem to have had much better luck with the movies I've made the effort to watch on pay-TV.

The Wrestler - Only two years late but I finally caught the highly acclaimed Darren Aronofsky sports drama that should, frankly, have won Mickey Rourke an Oscar. In one of the greatest career comeback performances of recent years, Rourke is superb as washed up, but likeable pro-wrestler, Randy "the Ram" Robinson - who is struggling with a heart condition after years of steroid use and punishment inside the ring. It's rare for a film to be …

Spoilt for choice at SA cinemas today

Seven new films open in South Africa today, and considering I'd be content catching over half of them, I thought I'd do the weekly release rundown a little differently this time. First up though are the movies that have done little to catch my attention.

These include romantic comedy Just Wright, starring Queen Latifah and Common as a no-nonsense physical therapist and injured basketball star respectively (49% Fresh at Rotten Tomatoes). Then there's Bollywood drama Aashayein, about a compulsive gambler (John Abraham) who is forced to reassess his life when he learns he has only three months to live. Sonal Sehgal and Anaitha Nair co-star. Finally there's Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, the first of two films opening today that star Nicolas Cage. A kind of, though denied, remake of the controversial Harvey Keitelmovie, this Werner Herzog crime drama focuses on a corrupt cop struggling with drug addiction. The new Bad Lieutenant has been highly acclaimed, scoring…

The A-Team reviewed

Considering the mediocrity of the midyear blockbuster season, The A-Team is about the best of the bunch in terms of offering mindless, good-natured, nostalgia-flavoured fun. It’s this year’s Star Trek in this regard – only dumber and more forgettable. It has to be added though that the degree to which you enjoy the film will probably be heavily influenced by your feelings towards the beloved, cheesetacular 80s TV show on which the film is based, as well as your personal definition of what makes The A-Team the A-Team… because the new movie deviates from its source material in some important areas.

The big screen A-Team is in essence an origin story. The film doesn’t centre on the four-man squad of outlawed ex-soldiers cruising around the United States in their iconic black and red GMC van, helping the weak and downtrodden – as they did every week during the TV series’ three year run. The A-Team film reveals how cunning strategist Hannibal Smith (Liam Neeson), smooth-talking Faceman Peck…

Girlz 'N' Games webcomic #74: Latino chicks in space

There's really not much to explain about this new Girlz 'N' Games comic. It's really just a little piece of connect-the-dots nonsense that I hope lovers of action sci-fi movies will appreciate. Mostly the strip was inspired by my recent viewing of Predators (my review here) where Alice Braga's female character - the lone woman in the film - is possibly the worst sniper in cinematic history. Not only does she never adopt a sniper's remote, silent-but-deadly approach to combat, but sometimes I had to wonder if she even knew how to hold her rifle. And this is a character who is supposed to run CIA black ops missions and be a top Israeli Defense Forces operative?

Isabelle is a far cry from Private Vasquez (Jenette Goldstein) in 1986's Aliens, who is arguably the toughest, most badass character in the entire Alien franchise. Vasquez can also be viewed as the spiritual predecessor of the much softer, but much more rebellious, pilot Trudy Chacon (Michelle Rodrigue…

Trailer Tuesday: The Last Exorcism

Two sub-categories of the horror genre meet in enticingly named The Last Exorcism. Presented as a real-life documentary/found video footage just like The Blair Witch Project, REC, Quarantine, Paranormal Activity and, most recently, The Fourth Kind, The Last Exorcism follows in the tradition of The Exorcist and The Exorcism of Emily Rose, and many other, much weaker flicks, which mix Christianity and demon possession into the horror-thrill mix.

Produced by Hostel and Cabin Fever's Eli Roth, The Last Exorcism centres on a evangelical minister (Patrick Fabian) who has knowingly preyed on the superstitious and blindly religious for years. Disillusioned and guilty, he decides to perform one last exorcism and have it filmed, in effect making a confessional documentary that will reveal himself as a fraud. Unfortunately for Reverend Cotton Marcus, his last exorcism - of a farmer's teenage daughter in rural Louisiana - seems to be the real deal, pitting the preacher and his camera crew…

Green Lantern: First Flight reviewed

Released in 2009, superhero film Green Lantern: First Flight is the fourth in Warner Bros' series of straight-to-DVD DC Universe Animated Original Movies – following Superman: Doomsday, Justice League: The New Frontier, Batman: Gotham Knight and Wonder Woman. Unfortunately though, Green Lantern: First Flight is also the weakest of the bunch – although I’m saying this having never watched the Superman: Doomsday movie.

What immediately puts Green Lantern: First Flight at a disadvantage is its near complete lack of character development. Given that a large chunk of Justice League: The New Frontier was devoted to Hal Jordan becoming a Green Lantern, First Flight refuses to repeat the same origin story, and almost immediately plunges Jordan (voiced by Christopher Meloni) into his first mission as an intergalactic, super-powered policeman – namely to bring the murderer of Jordan’s predecessor, Abin Sur to justice.

The thing is, Jordan as a character actually needs some explaining. He’s no…

It's A-Team time at South African cinemas

Six new films open in South Africa today, although I'm sure there's only one that has captured the public's imagination - even if the TV spots for said movie are completely bland. Anyway, we'll get to that film in a moment, after outlining the weekend's other new releases.

For lovers of Indian cinema there's Lafangey Parindey, a romantic drama about a street fighter (Neil Nitin Mukesh) and his relationship with a blind dancer (Deepika Padukone), who performs wearing roller skates. In limited release at Ster Kinekor Nouveau Theatres meanwhile, there's Italian comedy-drama A Stroke of Luck about two very different men who develop a strong friendship after meeting in a hospital ward; and the award-winning London River (92% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes), which stars Brenda Blethyn and Sotigui Kouyaté as parents world apart, who are nonetheless forced to join forces while searching for their adult children after the 2005 London bombings.

Parents with children, and V…

A break in transmission

Hey all, my apologies but there won't be a proper blog update today. I started one; I collected the images, but in the end I couldn't get it done for this morning, and I'm not sure what time I may get around to writing it today.

Plus, I think I need to take a mental health day. Apart from a bad cold throwing my routine completely the past couple of days, I've also been feeling increasingly down and stressed about my employment situation. In the past month I was interviewed twice for 2 jobs. At the one company, they seemed so impressed that I was added to the director's Funnies email list and met every senior staff member. A week later I was emailed and told that I was very impressive - the best candidate - but beyond their hiring budget. None of the other candidates got the job; the company is apparently still looking for "that rare animal" to fill the post.

As for the other job, I'm still waiting for them to make a decision. Along with 2 interviews for…

Knight and Day reviewed

It’s actually difficult to review action comedy Knight and Day because the film is such utter nonsense. Or utter rubbish if you’re completely unable to see the humour in this frenetic, ultimately forgettable piece of cinema fluff. This said, Knight and Day is not completely irredeemable if you’re in the market for some escapist, frequently illogical entertainment, and you possess the ability to completely disengage your brain.

Although plot is definitely not the film’s strength, Knight and Day centres on ordinary young woman June Havens (Cameron Diaz), a car restorer who finds herself at the receiving end of attention from Roy Miller (Tom Cruise), an apparently deranged super spy who has gone rogue in order to sell a revolutionary new energy source to European weapons developers. As Roy’s (initially) unwilling sidekick – hauled off to various exotic locations around the world – June is forced to decide whether her new protector is telling the truth, or is utterly crazy. If June decides…

Trailer Tuesday: RED

It's sometimes easy to forget that comic books aren't just about superheroes. Take Red for example. Red is a little known 2003 and 2004 mini-series that fell under the DC Comics umbrella. Created by acclaimed writer Warren Ellis and artist Cully Hamner, Red centres on a retired CIA agent who finds himself targeted for assassination by his superiors, and re-enters the "game" to both defend himself and seek revenge.

In Hollywood's craze for all things comic book, Red was snapped up to be turned into a movie. And having now watched the taunt 1 minute trailer above, as well as the longer, decidedly more action-packed feature trailer here, I have to say that RED looks surprisingly awesome.

Apparently far less violent but much more humorous and idiosyncratic than its printed source material, the film RED, which stands for "Retired Extremely Dangerous," expands on the comic's slender premise to make the film a team-centred espionage action comedy.

RED's o…

A real page turner

The one thing about being unemployed is that it gives you more time to catch up with your reading... unless of course you're one of those mad bookaholics who can work a full day, get all their domestic chores done in the early evening and then happily read till near dawn. Doing it all, as it were.

Anyway, I'm writing simply about reading habits today because long, logical blog post are beyond me - seeing as for the past week I've been suffering from a paralysing head cold that has yet to improve despite 2 full days of bed rest. Blerg.

Here's what's been on my bedside table the past month or so.

The Sookie Stackhouse Chronicles, also known as the The Southern Vampire Mysteries or the True Blood series, is a (currently) 10-strong series of supernatural mystery romance novels by Arkansas native Charlaine Harris. Most people will probably be more familiar with True Blood, the adults-only HBO TV series based increasingly loosely on the books.

Like the TV show, the Sookie Ch…

Step Up for new movies opening in South Africa today

Six new films open in South Africa today, although unfortunately none of them are really my "thing" so I'll likely be steering clear of the cinema this weekend.

Anyway, first up is acclaimed, festival-touring Bollywood satire Peepli Live (75% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes), about bankrupt rural farmers enticed to commit suicide for financial reasons, and the media and political frenzy that their actions produce.

Second up is Please Give (88% Fresh), a independent comedy-drama starring Catherine Keener, Oliver Platt and Amanda Peet. The film centres on a wealthy New York furniture dealer conflicted about her comfortable life and exploitative business practices when there's so much poverty and homelessness around her.

For those in the market for brainless action and hand-to-hand combat, there's The King of Fighters based on the popular video game series. Sean Faris, Maggie Q, Will Yun Lee and Ray Park star in this tale of rival fighting clans who have to defeat increasingl…

Predators reviewed

The original 1987 Predator, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, was an action sci-fi flick that proved aliens didn’t need to stalk spaceships, and human bases on extra-terrestrial worlds, to be terrifying. In fact, Predator is probably best remembered for its unusual setting for a fairly usual storyline – a squad of elite commandos on a mission in the Guatemalan jungle are picked off one by one by a mysterious but vicious foe: a technologically advanced alien. Although Predator’s reputation has grown over the years, at the time of release it was largely dismissed by critics as yet another brainless, if exciting, ultra-violent, ultra-macho action movie characteristic of ‘80s mainstream cinema.

Twenty three years later, and the Robert Rodriguez-produced sequel Predators hasn’t messed with the original formula too much – in terms of plot, score and general cinematic style. Unfortunately though, Predators is not a particularly satisfying film experience overall. Some elements work; others disa…

Girlz 'N' Games webcomic #73: Wonder Woman's wonderful lack of fashion sense

Right, so it's not exactly the latest news, but in late June the Internet - well, the geeky sectors anyway - was abuzz with the news that comic book character Wonder Woman, the first and most powerful of female superheroes, was receiving an overhaul.

The greatest outrage was directed at Wonder Woman's costume change, and at the time I blogged in detail about the matter. Anyway, gone are the star-spangled "broekies" and bright red go-go boots. Diana's new duds are intended to make the Amazonian princess appear more credible, contemporary and streetwise. It's interesting to note however that although Wonder Woman's new look has many haters, there are just as many vocal commentators insisting that it's about time Diana received a more realistic costume. Many claim that Wonder Woman has never been taken seriously and developed a wide following because of her ridiculously cheesy, sexist and exploitative outfit (modelled on the American flag, because the US …

Trailer Tuesday: Centurion

I honestly don't understand why it's so difficult to make a good movie about Roman military exploits in ancient Britain. 2004's King Arthur and 2007's The Last Legion, apart from trying to add some realism and Roman history to the Arthurian legend, were both as dull as ditch water. Centurion, the latest from The Descent, Dog Soldiers and *ahem* Doomsday writer-director Neil Marshall, attempts to change the fortunes of this very specific historical action-adventure sub-genre. Still though, Centurion doesn't look like an overwhelmingly awesome film experience, even if the red band trailer provides a better indication of the film's R-rated uber-violence.

Previously known as Ninth Legion, Centurion is a survival thriller that theorises what happened to the real life Roman Ninth Legion - consisting of well over 4000 men - which mysteriously disappeared during a disastrous campaign in northern Britain circa 117 ADE.

Inglourious Basterds, 300 and Hunger's Michael Fa…